Linda was lying in the hospital bed as she held her newborn baby girl. She sighed happily as she gazed down at her. It had been an hour since she had given birth to her baby, so the baby had stopped crying. The only thing was her husband, Steve, still wasn’t back from band practice. She blinked sadly out the window from the bed, hoping to see his silver car pull into the parking lot.
Another hour had passed, and Steve still hadn’t shown up. How could he possibly miss a moment like this? Linda thought in disbelief. How could he blow off seeing his newborn baby for band practice? Linda knew how much music meant to Steve, and Linda loved music herself. But she would never miss a chance to gaze down at a baby. A baby of her own.
As Linda waited, she began running through names in her head. Sally, Izzy, Jenny, Ruth, Annie? But she didn’t like any of them. She remembered her mother’s mom’s name was Candace. Linda had always loved that name. She then knew what she could name her baby. Candace.
Linda woke when she heard the door to her room open. She whipped open her eyes and saw Steve!
“I’m sorry, Linda,” Steve sighed. “We just… couldn’t play the last song right.”
Linda glared at him. “Is getting a song right more important than seeing your new baby girl?”
“A girl?” Steve narrowed his eyes.
“I thought we could name her Candace.”
“Ah, yes, that’s a good name,” Steve stammered.
Suddenly Candace started to cry again. Steve jumped back, looking startled.
“I… ah… I’m gonna go wait in the other room…” Steve back away.
But Steve was already shutting the door behind him. Linda pulled Candace’s blanket up closer around her to keep her warm, but Candace continued to cry. Linda rubbed her, whispered comforting words to her, and did all she could to have Candace settle down, but it didn’t do any good. Staring at the door where Steve had left, Linda knew something was wrong with him. This wasn’t a happy ending; this was the beginning of a whole new life.
Candace was sleeping on her mother’s lap. She hadn’t yet opened her eyes. But she was thinking about opening them today. Her dad wasn’t home. Her mother was telling her that he would be back soon, but that was an hour ago. And he still wasn’t home. He would just have to miss Candace open her eyes for the first time. She braced herself, ready for light to beam into her eyes, but when she opened them, it was beautiful. She was in a big room on a sofa, and there were lots of things Candace never expected to see.
“Candace, honey,” Linda gasped. “You opened your eyes!”
Candace smiled, pleased to see her mother this happy. She had sensed she hadn’t been too happy lately, but there was a big smile of Linda’s face. This was enough excitement for Candace for one day. So she closed her eyes again and went back to sleep.
Candace was watching something her mother called “TV”. She was watching a whole variety of different shows. Right now it was in commercial break. Candace turned around and saw Linda talking to one of her grown-up friends. Candace turned back around and started twisting her orange hair boredly, waiting for her TV show to come back on.
“She’s gotten so much bigger than I last saw her,” Linda’s friend observed.
“She was just a newborn then,” Linda laughed. “I’m kind of glad she’s getting bigger. Do you know how hard it was to find clothes so small to fit her?”
Clothes? Boring. Candace huffed and waited for her TV show. Suddenly a commercial came on that caught her attention. A big yellow duck was dancing across the screen, and people singing “Ducky Momo”. Candace’s eyes lit up and she pressed her hand against the screen.
She whipped around. “Mommy!” she squeaked. “Ducky Momo!”
“What was that, honey?” Linda walked into the room, looking at the TV screen.
“Ducky Momo!” Candace cried.
“Ah, I see,” Linda laughed. She ruffled Candace’s hair. “Maybe someday soon, sweetie, but not right now.”
The commercial turned off, and her show came back on. But Candace was no longer interested in it. She wanted a Ducky Momo! She crawled away from the TV and looked in a basket of magazines. She noticed one that had kid toys on it. She pulled it out and flipped through the pages, looking hopefully for the big yellow duck. Then she saw it!
“Ducky Momo!” she whispered excitedly.
She took the magazine, stood up, and raced over to the kitchen table where Lynda and her friend were sitting. Candace held up the magazine, showing her the Ducky Momo.
“Candace!” Linda laughed. “Not now. I’ll make it a surprise, okay?”
Candace dropped the magazine and nodded. She liked surprises! She sat down next to her mother’s chair and watched TV from in the dining room. Eventually, Linda’s friend left, and Lynda started looking through a magazine. Suddenly the door opened and her father walked in.
“Hi, Steve,” Lynda greeted him.
I haven’t seen him all day! Candace thought excitedly. She ran over to him.
“Hi, daddy!” Candace squealed happily.
“Hey, Candy,” Steve patted her on the head and trudged upstairs with his guitar case.
That’s it? Hey, Candy, and he walks upstairs? Isn’t he happy to see me? Candace thought, watching him walk upstairs. Candace walked over to her mother.
“Mommy, I don’t think Daddy likes me no more,” Candace said quietly.
“Oh, Candace, he does love you!” Linda exclaimed, picking her up and sitting her on her lap. “It’s just been a long, hard day for him. You understand that, right?”
Candace blinked. “If I say I understand, will you get me a Ducky Momo?”
Linda grinned and sat her down. “We’ll have to see,” she said. “Now why don’t you get on up to bed? It’s getting late, and we’re going out tomorrow.”
Going out? “Where are we going?” she asked.
“It’s a surprise.” Linda stood up and picked Candace up again. She carried her upstairs and into her bedroom.
“Did you brush your teeth like I said before you came downstairs?” Lynda asked.
Candace nodded. “Tops and bottoms!” she exclaimed, showing her mother her white teeth.
“And I see you got into your PJ’s all by yourself!” Linda said, sounding impressed. “That means you’re all ready to go to bed.”
As Linda went over to get one of Candace’s favorite stuffed animals, Candace got under her covers in her bed and lay her head down. Linda handed Candace her stuffed teddy bear, Mr. Miggins. Candace hugged onto it at once. Candace noticed her father was already in bed from across the room, as always. Candace thought it was odd that she, being two year old, went to bed later than her 30-year-old father.
“Goodnight, sweetie,” Linda murmured, kissing Candace’s cheek.
“Goodnight, Mommy,” Candace said back. “I love you.”
Linda smiled, then turned out the light and closed the door behind her. Then it was dark. Her night light turned on because it was dark-sensitive. It lit up her room because Candace was afraid of the dark. She hugged Mr. Miggins tightly and closed her eyes. Soon enough, she was fast asleep.
Candace fluttered her eyes open, and glanced over at the clock. It said . Candace wasn’t sure what ‘AM’ meant, but she was pretty sure it meant morning. She had a cool dream last night when she was aware she was dreaming so she could control what was happening! She had wished for a Ducky Momo, and she had gotten it. Unfortunately, she was awake now, and only found herself clutching onto Mr. Miggins. She climbed out of bed and went into the bathroom. She brushed her teeth, then poked her head into Lynda and Steve’s room. Neither of them were there. Candace blinked in surprise. Usually she was the first one to wake up. She went downstairs. Still none of them were to be seen. She heard the front door open and she jumped back. Then her mother step in quietly. She was holding a bag and she looked tired.
“Candace, you’re up?” Linda gasped. “I wanted to get back before you woke up. I’m sorry.”
“It’s okay, Mommy!” Candace said. “What do you have it that bag?”
Linda smiled, and then pulled out a yellow duck. Candace hopped up and down excitedly.
“Ducky Momo! Ducky Momo!” she cheered. When Linda handed her the duck, Candace hugged him. “Thank you, Mommy!”
“I’m glad you like it,” Linda sounded pleased. “Why don’t we get you dressed so you can play with Ducky Momo? Also, don’t forget we’re going out today.”
“Oh yeah!” Candace exclaimed.
Candace scampered upstairs with Linda behind her. Candace lifted up her arms, and Linda slid on her red shirt, then her white dress overtop. She tied her dark brown belt around her waist. Then she picked up Candace’s pink brush and began combing her hair.
As Linda combed her hair, Candace asked, “Where’s Daddy?”
“I think he’s at band practice,” Linda said. “Don’t worry, he’ll be back soon.”
“Yo, Steve-man, wassup?” Steve’s friend, Bobby greeted him.
“Hey,” Steve muttered.
“What’s the matter, man? You look mad,” Bobby exclaimed.
“Only because I hate my life,” Steve growled.
“What the hell are you talking about? You’re married to a beautiful woman, and you have a beautiful daughter! How could you hate your life? I’m not even married!” Bobby pointed out, sounding irritated.
“Tuh. You don’t know Linda,” Steve rolled his eyes. “Complains about everything. If I show up late from band practice all I hear about is ‘what about Candace?’ and all that crap. And Candace? God, she wakes up at six and makes as much noise as a cat stuck in a tree.”
“That’s no reason to hate them, you know.” Bobby narrowed his eyes.
“Ugh, I dunno… sometimes I wish we never got married,” Steve muttered.
Bobby raised his eyebrows, but didn’t say anything this time. There was complete silence for about fifteen minutes, until Steve realized something.
“I’m getting a divorce,” he announced.
“What?” Bobby boomed in disbelief. “Steve, you can’t surely be willing to throw all of that away! What’s Linda gonna do without your help with Candace? And what’s Candace gonna do without a father she can depend on?”
“Find someone else,” Steve growled. “Because I can’t take it any longer. When I was a kid, I said I never wanted to get married. Now, I know I was right. I should have never gotten married.”
Bobby blinked, staring at him with anger in his eyes.
“If you’ll excuse me, I have business to take care of.” Steve pushed past Bobby and into his car. Then he drove home, boiling under his skin, but firm and confident.
Candace followed Linda out the door and over to her mom’s car. She was just about to get in, when Steve’s car pulled up.
“You’re early today,” Linda said. “Want to join me and Candace?”
“I’ve got to tell you something.” Steve looked serious.
“Done… what? You’re song?”
Steve glared at her. “No. We’re done. Us. As in, ‘see ya’!”
“You’re breaking up with me? Steve, we’re married, and-“
“People can break up with each other after their married!” Steve snapped.
“But it’s not right!” Linda cried, tears streaming down her face. “And Candace? What about her? Have you even thought about her since I had her?” she added the last part in an angry whisper.
“Daddy? Where are you going?” Candace ran up beside her mother. She tilted her head to one side. “Can I go, too?”
Steve, unable to look at his little daughter, spun around and went into his car. Linda pulled Candace back when she tried to run after him.
“Don’t forget to take your stuff,” Linda snapped. “Because I never want to see them or you again!”
“I did that already,” Steve sneered.
“You decided this without asking me?” Linda gasped.
“Yep,” Steve smirked.
Candace watched in disbelief and horror as her father got into his car and slammed the door shut behind him.
“Daddy, wait!” Candace wailed, tears rolling down her cheeks. She ripped herself out of her mother’s grip and ran over to the car. “Don’t go!”
Steve rolled down the window. “I’m sorry, Candy, but it’s for your own good,” he murmured, and then rolled up the window.
Before Candace could say anything else, Steve stepped on the gas pedal and sped away in his car, leaving Candace and Linda to watch him in tears.
“DADDY!” Candace cried out.
Linda came up behind Candace and rested a hand on her shoulder. “It’s okay, honey, we still have each other,” she murmured.
Candace turned around, and their red, teary eyes met. Linda then led Candace inside, and the Flynn family was broken up.
It had been a year since Steve left. Candace was now three years old. In a couple years she would get to go to kindergarten! And in addition to the excitement, her mother was expecting a baby!
Her mother was upstairs getting ready to go to a Love Handel concert. Love Handel was her mother’s favorite band. Candace was going to stay at the house with a babysitter. She was sitting downstairs waiting for the babysitter to come. Her mother’s friend, Mrs. Garcia Shapiro, was going to come to baby-sit. Originally, Steve was going to go with Linda, but now that they were apart, Linda was going to go by herself with her remaining ticket after Steve took the other one with him.
Then Candace heard a knock from the door, and Mrs. Garcia Shapiro was standing there.
“Mommy!” Candace called. “Mrs… Grassy Shappy’s here!”
Linda came downstairs and let Mrs. Garcia Shapiro in.
“Hi, Linda!” she greeted her. “And, hello, little Candace! My, you’re getting bigger every time I see you!”
Candace smiled shyly but didn’t say anything.
“Thanks for watching her,” Linda said gratefully. “She can be a handful, but once you get her in bed she’s fine.”
“No problem,” Mrs. Garcia Shapiro said. “You go have fun!”
Candace woke when she heard the door opening. She was lying on the couch with Mrs. Garcia Shapiro next to her. Candace sat up when the door opened and her mother walked inside.
“Hi, Mommy!” Candace greeted her.
“Hi, sweetie, have fun?” Linda asked.
“Yeah! Mrs. Grasshopper’s great!” Candace exclaimed.
“She never did learn my name,” Mrs. Garcia Shapiro laughed.
“Well, thank you so much for watching her,” Linda thanked Mrs. Garcia Shapiro. “It means a lot.”
“Well I hope you had fun,” Mrs. Garcia Shapiro said. “We sure did, huh, Candy?” she turned around to look at Candace.
“Yeah!” Candace cheered.
“I’ll see you some other time, yes?” she said and she walked out the door.
“Bye, Mrs. Garcia Shapiro!” Candace waved.
“There you go!” she heard Mrs. Garcia Shapiro call from outside.
Just then someone stepped into the house behind her mother.
“Linda, I turned the car off for you, okay?” he said, and then noticed Candace staring at him curiously.
“Oh, yes, Lawrence, this is my daughter, Candace,” Linda said. “Candace, this is Lawrence. I met him at the concert.”
“Hello, pleased to meet you,” Lawrence said to Candace. “Your mum has told me lots about you.”
Candace noticed Lawrence had a weird accent. It didn’t sound like her mother’s, or like Steve’s.
Candace hopped down from the sofa. “You talk funny!” she giggled. “Say more words!”
“Candace!” Linda shot at her, in annoyance and embarrassment. “Be a bit more polite to him. He’s new to this country.”
“It’s okay, I get it all the time,” Lawrence laughed. “I’m from England. Have you ever heard of that?” he asked Candace.
Candace shook her head. “Mommy says we live in… Ah-mer-ee-ca.”
“America, honey,” Linda laughed.
“Well, England is all the way across the ocean,” Lawrence explained.
“Wow!” Candace exclaimed. “Did you swim all the way here?”
Lawrence laughed. “No, no, I took a plane.”
“Plane? What’s a plane?”
“It’s big and silver, with two wings, and you sit inside of it. It takes off into the air, and you ride in it. It flies you all the way across the ocean,” Lawrence said.
Candace tried to picture a big, silver bird soaring across the ocean with little people sitting in its stomach. It seemed kind of odd.
“Where are you staying?” Linda asked.
“For now, me, my wife, and my son are staying in a hotel a little farther away from here,” Lawrence said.
“You have a son?” Candace questioned.
“Yes, except too young for you to play with. In fact, he was just born yesterday. His name’s Ferb.” Lawrence said.
Candace thought ‘Ferb’ was a weird name. What did it mean? Though in his defense, she didn’t know what ‘Candace’ meant either.
“My Mommy’s gonna have a baby, too!” Candace said. “I hope it’s a girl! But Mommy thinks it’ll be a boy. So maybe they can play together!”
“Excuse my talkative daughter,” Linda laughed. “But it’s getting late. Your wife’s probably wondering where you are.”
“Yes, she probably is,” Lawrence said. “Nice meeting you both.”
When Lawrence left, Candace stared after him. She liked Lawrence. Even if he had a weird voice. She found people that were different from her interesting.
“My, Candace, it’s 10:00! You should have been in a bed an hour ago!” Linda exclaimed.
“But, Mommy, I’m not tired!” Candace complained.
“Come on. You’re not even in your PJ’s yet!” Linda began walking upstairs, but Candace didn’t follow her.
Linda became stern. “Now, Candace.”
Candace blinked. “Mommy, will we see Lawrence again?” she asked.
Linda was silent for a moment as she stared down at her, halfway up the stairs, obviously knowing what Candace was thinking. “He’s married, Candace, and he has a son.”
“You were married, and you had me, but Daddy and you broke up,” Candace pointed out.
At first, Linda shut her eyes tight. When she opened them, they were blazing with fury. “Candace Gertrude Flynn, you do not mention your father in this house. Now get upstairs this instant!” she snapped.
Candace crossed her arms angrily and stomped upstairs. She slipped on her PJ’s and brushed her teeth, then climbed into bed by herself, facing the opposite direction of the door on her side. She sighed and ran her fingers down Ducky Momo, with Mr. Miggins beside him. Candace ignored the sound of her door opening behind her because she already knew who it was, and she wasn’t talking to her.
“Goodnight, Candace,” she heard her mom murmur from the doorway.
Candace didn’t turn around or reply. She heard her mother walk into the room, and sit down on the bed beside her.
“I’m sorry, honey. I didn’t mean to snap at you back there,” Linda sighed.
Candace wanted to tell her that wasn’t what she was mad about, but she still didn’t reply to her.
“I can’t marry someone who’s already married, don’t you see that? How would you feel if you loved someone, and some other girl came and stole him away from you?”
“You’re probably better than his wife,” Candace muttered finally, but still didn’t look at her.
“I know you just want a father, but it’s not as simple as that,” Linda whispered, running her fingers through Candace’s hair gently.
Finally, Candace turned to look at her mother. “Why did he leave, Mommy? Why does he hate us?”
“Your father just feels… that we would all be better of being apart so no one gets hurt,” Linda said.
“What do you think he’s doing now?”
“Oh… probably at his band concert,” Linda replied. “He loves you, Candace, and don’t you forget.”
Candace just shrugged. She didn’t think her father loved her, or her mother, to just abandon them like that. Just wait when I see him again, Candace thought.
“Are you okay now?” Linda asked, breaking through Candace’s thoughts.
Candace nodded. “But please can we see Lawrence again? And Ferb next time?”
Candace’s birthday had passed a couple months ago, and now she was four years old. Next year would be her first year of kindergarten! But Candace was even more excited about seeing her new baby brother! Her mother was on her way home from the hospital. Mrs. Garcia Shapiro was watching Candace for the morning until Linda got home. She was also expecting a baby. Linda had decided on the name ‘Phineas’ for the new baby. Candace liked the name, but if she had a son, she would name him Xavier.
Candace was standing by the window, staring out at the street, waiting to see her mom’s station wagon pull into the driveway. Mrs. Garcia Shapiro was on the sofa reading a magazine.
“When will they get home, Mrs. Garcia Shapiro?” Candace asked, turning around.
“A few minutes,” Mrs. Garcia Shapiro answered. “Last time I called she was about five minutes away. Just be patient, dear.”
Candace sighed and kneeled down at the window. She folded her arms on the windowsill and rested her head on them, staring out at the street. Suddenly, Candace saw her mom’s car pull into the driveway. Candace gasped in excitement and rushed over to the door. Mrs. Garcia Shapiro stood up and walked up beside Candace. She opened the door for Linda, who walked in carrying a tiny little baby wrapped up in a blue blanket.
“Meet Phineas,” Linda said when she walked inside.
“Oh, he’s beautiful!” Mrs. Garcia Shapiro gasped.
“Thank you,” Linda smiled.
“Can I see him, Mommy?” Candace asked, looking up at her pleadingly.
“Of course, dear.” Linda carefully handed Candace the baby wrapped up in the blanket.
Candace held onto him tight, and gazed down. He had a triangular face and dark blue eyes like she had. Candace smiled happily. Is this what it’ll feel like to have my own baby when I’m older? Candace wondered.
Candace handed Phineas back to her mom. “He’s so cute!” she cooed.
“I thought you would say that,” Linda laughed.
“He can sleep in that extra room that we have,” Candace said. She turned to Mrs. Garcia Shapiro. “Me and Mommy have been setting it up for him.”
“That’s nice,” she nodded. “Well, I should be getting home now. Best wishes from our family.”
When she left, Candace turned to her mom. “Come on; let’s go upstairs into his room!”
“Yes, we should probably get him into a bed,” Linda said. “Well, a crib in this case.”
“The one I used to use,” Candace said. “I boy-ished it up for him!”
Linda laughed and carried Phineas upstairs with Candace running after them close behind.
One year had passed just like that. Candace was now five years old, and little Phineas was one. Tomorrow would be the first day of school for Candace. She was so excited! Right now Candace was pushing Phineas’s stroller up the street with him in it. Phineas and looking around at all the buildings in amazement.
“Bet I could build that!” she heard Phineas say.
Candace looked up at the huge tower Phineas was pointing at.
“That?” Candace said, shocked. “Isn’t that kind of impossible?”
“I could build it!” Phineas insisted.
“Sure, Phineas,” Candace laughed, and continued to push his stroller up the street.
Phineas pointed at a sign that was on the street. It was something about the Danville Fair. There was a picture of a roller coaster on it. Candace pushed him over to it.
Phineas pointed at the roller coaster. “Could build that, too!” he piped up.
“Phineas, you-“ Candace broke off, not wanting to hurt Phineas’s beliefs. “Maybe you will build one someday,” she said instead.
Phineas looked up at her and smiled. “You ride it, too!” he exclaimed.
Candace laughed. “Me? Oh no, Phineas, I can’t ride those!”
“Why? I would.”
“I’m afraid of heights. You know, places up high,” Candace told him. “But I’m sure you’ll ride lots of them in your life.”
It was about 6:00 PM now, so Candace began pushing Phineas’s stroller back to their house. He fell asleep on the way back, so Candace carried him inside and sat lay him on the sofa, tucking him in with a blanket.
“Dinner!” Candace heard Linda call.
Candace walked into the dining room. “Phineas is sleeping,” she pointed out.
“We’ll feed him when he wakes up,” Linda said. “For now, you sit down and eat your dinner.”
Linda sat a plate in front of Candace with cut-up steak and mashed potatoes with butter.
As Candace picked at the steak, she said, “I’ve liked having Phineas around, Mommy. It doesn’t seem so lonely anymore.”
“It was never lonely, honey,” Linda said, sitting down at the table. “I love having you around the house. Phineas, too.” She looked at him dozing in the living room and laughed. “At least you weren’t the one up in the middle of the night caring for him when he woke up crying!”
“I’ll be the one doing that one day,” Candace said. “I just… I just hope when I get married, my husband won’t leave me like Daddy did.”
“He won’t, trust me,” Linda said. “You know why?”
“Because you’re the most kind, gentle, and beautiful girl on the face of the Earth,” Linda told her. “I really mean it.”
Candace stabbed a piece of steak with her fork in embarrassment, but it made her feel better to know her mother felt that way about her.
“So are you ready for school tomorrow?” Linda asked.
“I’ve never been more ready in my whole life,” Candace exclaimed.
Candace heard Phineas moving around over on the sofa, looked
around, and saw he was waking up.
“You eat your dinner, honey,” Linda said. “I’ll give Phineas his food.”
When she finished loading up her backpack, Candace zipped it up and threw it onto her back. Today was her first day of kindergarten! Candace was a little nervous, but ready. In her kindergarten, she started in the morning, which meant she left school at , and then the afternoon kindergarteners came to school.
“Are you ready for school today, honey?” Linda asked, walking over to her from Phineas’s height chair.
“Yep!” Candace answered. Her voice quivered, but she tried to look strong.
“What’s the matter, sweetie? You were so excited yesterday,” Linda bent down to Candace’s height.
“I’m just nervous,” Candace said quietly.
“You’ll be fine. You’ll meet lots of new kids,” Linda comforted her.
“Where Candace going?” Phineas called from his height chair. “She leaving?”
“Only for a little bit,” Candace told him. “I’ll be back later today, okay?”
Phineas nodded, then turned back to the table.
“Oh, Candace, I almost forgot to tell you,” Linda said. “Lawrence is bringing Ferb over to visit today.”
Candace’s eyes lit up. “Really? When?”
“Don’t worry, you’ll get home to see them in time,” Linda told her. “They’ll be here around 1:00, so you’ll be home way before they get here.”
Linda looked at the clock. “Oh, 8:00! Looks like it’s time for you to go catch the bus, missy!” she said to Candace.
Candace looked a little sad, so Linda bent down again. “You’ll be fine, I promise,” she murmured. “Now you go have fun!”
“K, I will,” Candace said, turning around to go out the door.
When she went outside, the bus pulled up. She turned around and saw Lynda wave to her from the window. The bus door opened, then Candace scampered onto the bus. She sat down in the back next to a girl who was all by herself. She was wearing a blue shirt and a blue bow. She had black hair, and her eyes were slanted slightly. The bus pulled away from their house. Candace was surprised at how loud the bus was. Kids were yelling to each other and making all kinds of noises. Candace shrank down into her seat, hoping none of the kids would talk to her. The day was only going to be four hours, but to Candace, that seemed like four days.
The bus got to the school, and Candace jumped up from her seat and began making her way up the isle of the bus. She tried staying out of the other kids’ way.
When she walked into the school, she was amazed at how big it was compared to her house. She looked down at her schedule and saw her room number was K2. Luckily, it was right around the corner! Candace walked into the room. The teacher was greeting everyone, and telling them to put their backpacks on the hooks by the door. Candace hung her backpack from one of the hooks.
“Find your name on the nametag on your desk!” the teacher was instructing.
Candace searched for her name. Then she saw her’s, ‘Candace Flynn’. Candace, feeling satisfied, sat down in her chair. She was surprised at how quiet she was being. Usually, she was a loud-mouth, and never stopped talking. But for some reason, school changed that. It’s only the first day, Candace thought. Everyone’s shy on their first day. Candace saw a boy sit across the room from her. He was blonde, and he wore a green jacket with a brown shirt underneath. Candace’s eyes sparkled in amazement. My first crush, and it’s only the first day of kindergarten! She squinted, trying to read his nametag from across the room. She thought it said ‘Jeremy Johnson’. Nice name, too, Candace thought. After all the kids were settled in their seats, the teacher walked up to the front of the room.
“Hello, children, my name is Mrs. Honeysuckle,” she greeted them happily. “Welcome to AM kindergarten! I’ll be handing out some papers for you to show to your parents and then we’ll be doing a ‘Getting To Know You’ activity.”
Candace flinched at the word ‘parents’ because she only had one parent. Every time she thought about a father, it made her feel weird. When Mrs. Honeysuckle was finished handing out the papers, she told everyone to stand up and make a circle around the room.
“What we’re going to do is go around the circle and tell us one thing about you. It could be your favorite animal, a family member, anything like that. I’ll give you about a minute to think,” Mrs. Honeysuckle instructed.
Candace thought about herself. She didn’t want to say anything embarrassing. So she decided on just saying she had a baby brother. As they went around the circle, Candace took notice of when Jeremy would speak.
“I’m Jeremy Johnson and I like to play soccer,” Jeremy said.
“Next?” Mrs. Honeysuckle said.
Candace didn’t say anything because it wasn’t her turn. But she had been so caught up in hearing what Jeremy said she didn’t realize she was standing right next to him, and it was her turn! The eyes of everyone in the room were staring at her.
“Oh, oh, sorry,” Candace said shyly.
A few giggles were heard from her classmates.
Shuffling her feet in embarrassment, Candace muttered, but making sure she was loud enough, “I’m Candace Flynn and I have a baby brother.”
“Very nice!” Mrs. Honeysuckle commented. “How old is he?”
Darn! I have to talk again! Go on, Candace. “Uh… one.”
Mrs. Honeysuckle nodded, then turned to the girl standing next to Candace. It was the same girl Candace had sat next to on the bus.
“I’m Stacy Hirano and I come from Tokyo, Japan,” Stacy said quietly.
A couple kids were silent, and some looked at her in a strange way. Candace was confused. What was wrong with her?
After the getting to know you activity, they learned the number line up to ten. Then Mrs. Honeysuckle gave them a handout when you had to color in the spaces the color of the number. For example, if six was purple, you colored in all the spaces on the picture with a ‘6’ on them purple. Finally, it was time for recess. All the kids rushed outside, Candace trying to stay out of the big pack so she wouldn’t be run over by all the crazy boys. Candace didn’t know what to do. There weren’t any kids in her neighborhood to make friends with before coming to school. So she just had to watch everyone have a good time, as she sat, all alone, on a bench. Suddenly she heard fierce laughter, which made her curious. Candace looked up and saw a group of girls pointing at the girl called Stacy.
“She’s a Jap!” one of the girls spat.
“You don’t belong here!” another one hissed.
Candace, feeling a need to stand up for Stacy, got up and raced over to stand next to Stacy.
“So what if she’s different? We all are! So lay off!” Candace snapped.
A couple of the girls rolled their eyes as they stalked off, and she heard one mutter, “Stupid red-head. Why did she have to ruin the fun?”
Then she heard Stacy beside her, “Thanks,” she sighed.
“It was nothing,” Candace told her.
“I’m Stacy, by the way,” Stacy said. “Well, you probably know that already, but still.”
“I’m… Candace,” Candace stammered.
“So where do you live? We should hang out sometime,” Stacy said.
“In that neighborhood… the bus drives by…?” Candace shrugged.
“Really? Me too!” Stacy said excitedly, apparently knowing which neighborhood Candace was talking about. “Hey, I sat with you on the bus this morning, right? And you came out of a house that’s in my neighborhood, so we know for sure we’re in the same neighborhood.”
Wow, she’s almost like me, Candace thought. Never stops talking. I could like this girl.
Stacy tilted her head a little. “You don’t talk much,” she observed, almost reading her thoughts, but saying the opposite. “You okay?”
“I don’t talk much? Please!” Candace rolled her eyes in amusement. “You should see me at home.”
They both laughed, and then the recess bell rang. That was also the bell that meant it was time to go home.
“Wanna sit together on the bus again?” Stacy asked.
“Sure!” Candace agreed.
Soon enough, the bus was pulling out in front of the school. It read ‘109’ on it, which meant that was her bus. She followed Stacy onto the bus and they went in the back seat again.
“The good thing about the back seat is it bounces you really high when you go over bumps!” Stacy exclaimed.
“There’s those little speed bumps on the side of the road, right?” Candace asked.
“Yeah! We’ll be sure to go flying on those!” Stacy grinned.
When the bus pulled up in front of Stacy’s house, Stacy got off the bus, and waved to Candace from outside the window as she walked up her driveway. Candace waved back, pleased to have a friend. It wasn’t long after Stacy got dropped off that they pulled up to Candace’s house. She got off her bus seat, walked down the isle, and got off the bus. She noticed her mother standing on the porch with Phineas.
“Hi, Mommy! Hi, Phineas!” Candace greeted them when the bus pulled away.
She darted up to the porch and hugged her mother.
“Have fun?” Linda asked.
“Yeah!” Candace exclaimed. “I met a new friend, Stacy. We’re gonna hang out sometime. She lives in this neighborhood.”
“I told you you would meet someone,” Linda said. “Now let’s go inside. Remember, we have guests today.”
“Oh, right!” Candace said excitedly. She couldn’t wait to see Lawrence, and Ferb for the first time.
It was about 1:00 PM. Candace was having a tea party with Ducky Momo, and singing a little bit. She loved to sing, and her mother told her she was good at it. She then heard a knock on the door, so she jumped up and raced downstairs. Linda was opening the door, and Lawrence walked in with a little green-haired boy behind him. Phineas walked over curiously and stood beside Candace.
“Hi, Lawrence,” Linda greeted him. “And, hello, Ferb! It’s nice to finally meet you!”
Ferb didn’t answer. Linda blinked.
“He doesn’t talk much,” Lawrence reassured her. “It takes some getting used to, you know?”
“Hi, I’m Phineas!” Phineas piped up from beside Candace. Before Candace had a chance to introduce herself, Phineas added, “And this Candace!”
“Why don’t you kids go outside and play?” Linda suggested. “We’ll be inside if you need us.”
“Uh, no, I’ll be upstairs,” Candace said quickly. She didn’t think anything Phineas and Ferb were doing would be that interesting.
The boys rushed out the back door, and Linda and Lawrence sat down on the sofa and began to chat. Leaving Candace by herself, she went upstairs and into her room. She looked out her window, a little curious to see what the boys were doing. She saw Phineas pointing to the building they had seen the other day. She figured Phineas was telling Ferb all about how he was going to build things. Candace rolled her eyes in amusement, and then heard her mother’s voice coming in through her vent. Curious to see what they were talking about, Candace crouched down and listened to them with her ear pressed up against the vent.
“Why don’t you try doing family things with her?” Linda suggested.
“I’ve tried, but she always says she’s busy,” Lawrence sighed.
Who were they talking about? Lawrence’s wife?
“Well, just remember you can always come over here if you want to talk about it,” her mother said.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Candace thought excitedly. Maybe if he comes over enough, he’ll fall in love with Mommy!
“Thank you, Linda,” Lawrence said. “I appreciate it.”
A couple hours later, Lawrence and Ferb had left. Phineas was watching one of his baby shows, leaving bored Candace no choice but to watch it with him. She couldn’t believe she actually liked these shows before. Her mother was making dinner in the kitchen. Eventually, Candace fell asleep.
Candace was dreaming. She was sitting in a big open field. It was beautiful. Blooming flowers, butterflies fluttering around, and fluffy white clouds. Suddenly, out of no where, a big gush of wind took Candace by surprise, forcing her to shut her eyes. When the opened them again, the beautiful field had turned into a burning ground with an ashy red sky. Where am I? Candace thought scaredly, looking around. She whipped around when she sensed someone was behind her. Candace screamed in terror when she saw a big man behind her, dressed in all black, reaching for her.
“Don’t hurt me!” Candace wailed. “I’ll do anything for you!”
The man pulled off his dark mask, and Candace gasped when she saw it was Steve, her father!
“Candace…” his voice boomed. He picked her up.
“Daddy!” Candace cried, struggling.
Her father reached into his pocket and he pulled out a silver stick. He held Candace by the front of her shirt, held the silver stick up, and a loud booming noise was made.
“CANDACE, WAKE UP!”
Candace whipped her eyes open, sweating, panting, tears rolling off her cheeks. She saw her mother crouching in front of her beside the sofa. Phineas was staring at her, wide-eyed, from the dinner table.
“Are you okay, sweetie?” Linda gasped. “You were crying and screaming in your sleep!”
Candace couldn’t speak. Her throat was choked up in horror. She wiped the tears from her face.
“I… it was only a nightmare,” Candace breathed.
“It seemed like more than a nightmare,” Linda observed. “Why don’t you come sit with us at the dinner table? Being with other people will make you feel better. You can tell me about your dream later, alright?”
Candace nodded, finally catching her breath. “Okay,” she sighed, getting off the sofa.
She sat down at the dinner table. Phineas was eying her curiously.
“Why were you crying?” Phineas asked. “Are you sad?”
“No, no, I’m okay,” Candace reassured him, trying to hide the redness of her eyes from him.
When they finished dinner, Candace followed Lynda upstairs with Phineas in the lead. Candace, still scarred from her nightmare, wanted to stay with her mother for the rest of the night.
“I not tired!” Phineas complained. “Do I gotta go to bed?”
“Yes, Phineas,” Linda told him sternly. “Now climb on into bed.”
“Fine.” Phineas hopped into his bed and Lynda pulled the covers up onto him.
“There. All ready for bed,” Linda said. She kissed the top of his head. “Goodnight, Phineas.”
“Nighty, Mommy. Nighty, Candace,” Phineas said to them, then lay his head down.
Linda closed Phineas’s door behind her, and she and Candace went back downstairs.
“Do you want to tell me about your dream now that Phineas is in bed?” Linda asked, sitting down on the sofa.
“Okay…” Candace sat down next to her. “Well, I was in this beautiful field, when a big gush of wind blew through so I had to close my eyes. When I opened them… I wasn’t in the field anymore. There was fire all around me, a-and the sky was red and ashes falling down. I… I heard someone come up from behind me, and he was dressed all in black. Then he pulled off his black mask… and… and…” she broke off, trembling.
“You don’t have to tell me the rest if you don’t want to,” Linda murmured, rubbing Candace’s back gently.
“No, I do,” Candace said, trying to sound strong. “So, he pulled off his mask, and… it was Daddy. He picked me up by my shirt and whispered my name. I struggled and tried to get away from him, but he p-pulled out a silver stick from his pocket, and I heard a clicking noise… and then a loud boom, louder than you could imagine. Then I woke up.” Candace was trembling more than ever from remembering the horrible dream.
Linda hugged her. “You don’t have to worry about that anymore,” she said gently. “You’re safe here, remember that. Maybe you’re just feeling nervous about school tomorrow.”
“Maybe,” Candace sighed.
“Why don’t you go put your PJ’s on?” Linda suggested. “It’s already 8:00. Then you can come back down for a little while and go to bed at 8:30. Sound good?”
Candace nodded. “But will you come with me?” she asked.
“Of course, honey.”
Candace woke up the next morning at . It had rained last night. She hadn’t had anymore nightmares, or any dreams at all, actually. Sighing with relief, Candace got out of bed and began to get dressed. When she was done getting dressed, she brushed her teeth. The door suddenly whipped open.
“Hi, Candace!” Phineas yelled happily at the door.
Candace, completely startled, swallowed her toothpaste and nearly choked on her toothbrush. When she had stopped gagging, she glared at Phineas.
“Phineas, don’t do that!” Candace snapped.
“Whoops. Sorry!” Phineas giggled. “Mommy told me to tell you she has breakfast waiting downstairs.”
“And, ‘Candace, breakfast is ready’ wouldn’t have worked?” Candace huffed as she rinsed off her toothbrush.
When Phineas left, she rinsed out her mouth, and then went downstairs. There was a chocolate chip pancake on her plate. Phineas was eating his with his hands. Candace rolled her eyes in amusement and starting cutting up her’s with a fork and knife.
“Good morning, Candace,” Linda greeted her from the kitchen. “Have any more dreams?”
“Good morning, Mommy,” Candace said back, finishing the cut up the pancake. “And no, I didn’t.”
“That’s good,” Linda commented.
When Candace finished her pancake, she hopped down from her chair and over to the front door. She glanced back at the clock. It read: . Candace, sighing impatiently, made her way over to the sofa to sit beside her backpack. She just wanted to get to school already. As much as she loved being with her family, she wanted to get out of the house for a little while. A half an hour had passed, which meant it was . Candace had ended up taking a book out of her backpack and reading it. Unfortunately, the book was only eight pages, so she just read it over and over again. When she noticed the clock, she threw the book into her backpack, zipped it up, and put it on her back.
“Ready to go?” Linda asked, walking over to her.
“Yeah,” Candace replied. “Bye, Mommy.”
“Bye, honey. Be good.”
“Bye Candace!” Phineas yelled, probably hoping to startle her again.
Candace went out the door and waited on her porch for the bus to come. A minute later, she saw it pulling up in front of her house. The door opened, welcoming her in. Candace ran down the sidewalk and onto the bus. She went to the back, where Stacy was saving a spot for her.
“Hi!” Stacy greeted her.
The bus pulled away from her house and they were on their way.
“Hey, Stacy, do you have any younger siblings?” Candace asked.
“No, I’m an only child,” Stacy answered. “But I have lots of cousins in
Candace blinked. “What are cousins?”
Stacy tilted her head a little. “You don’t know what cousins are?”
“Does everyone have them?”
“Mostly everyone. Their people that are related to you, and around your same age,” Stacy explained.
“I’ve never met my cousins,” Candace said. “I’ve seen my grandparents, though.”
When they got to school, Candace and Stacy went inside together and sat down at their desks. Candace noticed Stacy was diagonal from her two rows across. Darn. I wish she was next to me, Candace thought. Candace noticed Jeremy walk into the classroom with a couple of his friends. Candace switched into her dreamy mode, smiled slightly, and watched him. One of these days, she would have to talk to him. But what would she say? ‘Hi’ wasn’t enough for a boy as cute as Jeremy. She had to think of something quick but clever. Just not yet, Candace thought. I’m not ready.
Recess came around the corner after a long morning of learning. They were learning the ABC’s, then spelled a little bit. Candace was with Stacy this time at recess instead of being alone. She and Stacy were sitting on a bench talking. But her eyes trailed off from Stacy and she was watching Jeremy play basketball.
“Candace?” Stacy snapped her fingers in front of Candace’s face.
“What? Oh, sorry.” Candace twisted her hair uncomfortably.
“Anyway, back to my story,” Stacy said. “So I was-“ she broke off when she saw some girls coming towards her.
“Stacy’s a Jap! Stacy’s a Jap!” they were cheering loudly, then laughed.
Candace stood up, ready to defend her friend.
“Stay out of it this time, stupid,” one of the girls snapped at Candace.
She pushed Candace backwards and Candace fell into a gushy mud puddle. They all laughed really hard and gave each other’s high fives.
“Good one, Maddy!” a blonde one cheered.
“That wasn’t very nice, you know,” Stacy defended Candace. This time, she was the one defending.
“Like we care?” Maddy, the one who pushed Candace, rolled her eyes.
“What’s going on here?” Candace heard her teacher’s voice.
The group of girls started to back away, but Mrs. Honeysuckle had gotten there before they had a chance to run away.
“Candace, what are you doing in the mud?” Mrs. Honeysuckle gasped and Candace stood up.
“They pushed her!” Stacy jumped in, pointing accusingly at the group of girls.
“No, she pushed her!” one of the girls pointed at Maddy.
“All I know is all of you girls were making fun of Stacy, so I came out here to find Stacy is alright, but Candace is in the mud,” Mrs. Honeysuckle snapped. “Well? Would you care to tell me what happened?”
“I saw it!” came a voice.
Candace whipped around and saw Jeremy running over to them. Candace widened her eyes. Now Jeremy would see her covered in mud!
“Well, then, Jeremy would you tell us what happened?”
“Well, I was too far away to hear what the group of girls were saying, but I heard them laughing and pointing at Stacy,” Jeremy told her. “Then I saw Candace stand up, but Maddy told her to stay out of it and she pushed Candace into the mud.” He looked up at Mrs. Honeysuckle. “Are they in trouble?”
“T-that’s a lie!” Maddy gasped.
“Is not!” Jeremy argued.
“Maddy, go inside,” Mrs. Honeysuckle said fiercely, pointing at the door.
“No ‘buts’! Now!”
Maddy glared at Jeremy, Candace, and Stacy, and then stormed off inside angrily.
Candace turned to Jeremy. “Thanks,” she murmured.
“No problem.” Jeremy shrugged, and then went back over to his friends.
Suddenly Stacy’s voice broke through Candace’s dreamy-world. “Hey, Candace,” she said.
Candace blinked and spun around to face her. “Hm?”
Stacy lowered her voice. “Do you like Jeremy?” she asked, putting air-quotes around ‘like’.
Candace sighed. “Don’t tell anybody,” she pleaded.
Stacy smiled. “Your secret’s safe with me,” she murmured warmly. “Come on, let’s go inside to the bathroom and get you a paper towel. It won’t do much, but at least it’ll get the un-dried mud off you.”
They asked Mrs. Honeysuckle if they could go to the bathroom. She figured why so, she said they could go. They went into their classroom. There was a bathroom in there. Candace couldn’t help but glance at Maddy when they went into the bathroom. She was sitting at her desk and glaring at Candace. You didn’t have to push me into the mud, Candace thought dryly. She went into the bathroom with Stacy and they closed the door. Stacy wet a paper towel and handed it to Candace.
As she scrubbed at her skirt, Candace sighed, “My Mom’s gonna flip when she sees what I did to this outfit.”
“Aw, it’s not that bad,” Stacy told her. “When you put it through the washing machine the stains will come out. Besides, it wasn’t your fault,” she added.
“Yeah, I guess,” Candace muttered, still furious at Maddy.
She screwed up her face in disgust when she saw the muddy paper towel. She dropped it in the trashcan and looked at the clock.
“It’s ,” she announced. “Recess should be ending now.”
“First ones in from recess!” Stacy exclaimed in delight. Then she remembered about Maddy. “First ones in who were good, at least.”
“Candace, what happened to your clothes and your hair?” Linda gasped as she walked in the door.
“Some girl pushed me into the mud,” Candace answered, sitting her backpack on the sofa. “It’s no big deal.”
“Why did she do that?” Linda ran over to her.
“Well, she and her friends were making fun of Stacy, so I wanted to defend her. The last time I did, they went away, but this time the one girl pushed me backwards and I fell,” Candace muttered, picking at the dried mud in her hair.
“Well that’s not very nice, is it? Honey, I think it’s great that you were defending your friend. The stains in your skirt will probably never come out since its white, though,” Linda sighed. “We might have a chance with your shirt though. Go put on something clean, and I’ll throw it in the wash.”
“Okay,” Candace replied, walking over to the stairs.
As Candace changed, she thought about Maddy. What a jerk, Candace thought. She was probably the leader of that group of girls. Then she remembered how Jeremy had told what really happened. Was he defending me? Candace wondered. A smile crept up on her face when she thought about him. She felt better that someone knew about her feelings about Jeremy now, since she told Stacy.
Candace had changed into a purple shirt and a white skirt. She didn’t think she looked good in purple, but it was the only thing she could find in her closet. She walked by Phineas’s room and saw he was sleeping. It was probably his morning nap. Walking away quietly from his door, Candace carried her dirty clothes down to the washer where her mom was waiting.
“Thanks, honey,” Linda said, putting her clothes into the washer. “Oh, you haven’t worn that shirt in a while! I like it on you!”
“Really?” Candace blinked. She thought she looked pretty weird in purple.
“Yeah,” Linda said. “Well, Phineas should be waking up soon. When he does, we’ll all go out somewhere.”
That sounded nice. Candace couldn’t remember the last time she had went out with her mother and Phineas. It was probably before school started. Candace was relieved that today was Friday. That meant there was no school for two days after that. She didn’t want to have to see Maddy tomorrow. Who knew being in kindergarten would be this hard? Candace thought.
“Tory, I love you,” Steve said. He went down on one knee. “Will you marry me?”
Tory gasped and smiled. “Yes, Steve, I will marry you!” she cheered.
Steve jumped up and hugged Tory lovingly. Tory was a beautiful blonde woman. She respected all of Steve’s opinions, and never has challenged him once since they’ve been dating. Steve knew this time he would never break up with Tory like he did with Lynda. He loved Tory with all of his heart. Steve’s mind then drifted off to wonder about Candace. How was she getting along? She had to be at least five or six years old now. Oh, who cares about them? I’m starting a whole new life! And one that I’ll enjoy! Steve thought joyfully.
Steve wasn’t the only one getting married again, though.
The wedding was going to take place at the church. Candace was to be the flower girl, and Phineas and Ferb were going to be the ring bearers.
The wedding had passed, and now Linda and Lawrence were on their honey moon. Candace, Phineas, and Ferb were staying at Mrs. Garcia Shapiro’s house. Phineas and Ferb had Isabella, Mrs. Garcia Shapiro’s daughter, to play with, and Candace had gone over to Stacy’s house, and vice-versa.
After a few years, Candace was in fifth grade, and she was ten years old. Phineas and Ferb were six. They were both in first grade, along with Isabella, and their new friend, Baljeet. Candace and Stacy had become best friends over the years, and they had made a new friend called Jenny. Candace, of course, was always trying to talk to Jeremy and get closer with him. Candace had found out a way to get closer to Jeremy. Jeremy was a master at geography, but it was Candace’s weakest subject. She asked Jeremy if he could help her, and, being the nice boy that he was, agreed. Every Thursday they would meet at the park and Jeremy would help her with her geometry. Candace knew they were getting closer! As for Lynda and Lawrence, Candace had never seen her mother so happy. She was also happy to have
Candace and Jeremy were at the park. It was Thursday, which meant it was Geometry Day. Or ‘Get Close to Jeremy Day’ as Candace called it to Stacy. They had a test on geography the next day, so Jeremy had suggested they start earlier so they could study longer.
Jeremy was reading questions off the review. “Alright, what is the southernmost continent?” he asked.
“Uh… Antarctica?” Candace asked.
“Good! Last question. Name the four major oceans,” Jeremy instructed.
“Four oceans, let’s see… Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, and Arctic,” Candace replied.
“Great! I think you’re all ready for tomorrow,” Jeremy complimented her.
“Thanks!” Candace said. “And thanks so much for helping me.”
“Oh, no problem!” Jeremy answered. “I liked helping you. I had fun.”
Candace held back a giggle of happiness. She saw Jeremy pull his cell phone out of his pocket.
“My Mom texted me saying to come home now,” Jeremy said. “It’s dinnertime, and I need to help her with Suzy while my Dad’s away.”
Candace looked at her phone. “Yeah, I should be going, too. I’ll see you tomorrow.”
“Yep. Good luck on the test.” Jeremy waved goodbye, and then he walked out of the park.
Candace walked the other way. She ran through all the continents and oceans in her head as she walked. When she got back, it was about 7:00, and her family was at the table.
“There you are!” Lawrence exclaimed. “We thought we might start eating without you.”
“Here I am.” Candace smiled, and put her review paper in her backpack.
She sat down at the table and they all began to eat.
“So are you ready for the test tomorrow?” Linda asked Candace.
“I think so,” Candace answered. “Me and Jeremy have been studying for, like, five weeks now.”
“Good,” Lynda said.
“Me and Ferb have a quiz on adding and subtracting tomorrow!” Phineas piped up.
“Tomorrow? You never told us about that!” Linda gasped.
“We like to study without being lectured,” Phineas pointed out. “But we’re ready.”
Linda and Lawrence both laughed. Candace remembered when she first learned how to add and subtract. It seemed so long ago now that she was in fifth grade. Candace had to admit she missed being in first grade. Everything was so simple then. And she couldn’t forget that fact that she would be going to middle school next year. And she thought going into kindergarten was scary!
“Okay, class, close your books and clear off your desk for the test,” Candace’s teacher, Mr. Maxwell, announced.
He had given them a few minutes to study, but now it was the real thing. She glanced over at Jeremy, who gave her a thumbs up for ‘good luck’. Candace gave him one back, and finished clearing off her desk. Mr. Maxwell passed out the test and went over it, and then he told them to start. Candace started by writing her name at the top, then she went down to the first question. ‘What three countries make up
“Take your time,” he murmured to Candace.
Huffing under her breath, Candace turned to the backside of her paper. There was a map on there. ‘Locate the
“Okay, at this point you should all be finished your tests, and if you’re not, you can go down to the library and finish,” Mr. Maxwell said. When nobody answered, he said, “Please pass up your black papers.” Candace passed her’s up to Stacy, who sat in front of her, and then she took all the papers from behind her and gave them to Stacy, who gave them to another girl who sat up front. Candace would be wondering how she did for the rest of the day now.
“So how do you think you did?” Stacy asked from the other end of her cell phone.
“I think I did okay,” Candace answered, turning over on her stomach on her bed. “But if I didn’t, that’s really gonna bring my grade down, huh?”
“At least you don’t have D in math,” Stacy huffed. “Be glad you’re good in math, Candace, because it really gets you far!”
It was true. Candace had an A in math, but she didn’t like to tell anyone.
“Well, you have an A in social studies,” Candace reassured her friend. “Heh, I’m the one with the D in that.”
“Jeremy’s been helping you though.”
“We haven’t taken anything that was worth points in social studies, have we?” Candace pointed out.
“No, I guess not,” Stacy replied.
“Candace, can you come downstairs a moment, honey?” came her mother’s voice.
Candace covered the part of her phone that you speak into. “Just a minute, Mom, I’m on the phone!” she called back down. She uncovered her phone and said, “Sorry, Stacy, I have to go.”
“Alright. I’ll see you whenever,” Stacy said. “Bye.”
“Bye,” Candace said, then closed up her phone. She slipped it into her pocket and went downstairs.
“Yeah, what is it?” she asked, jumping off the last step.
“We’re visiting your grandparents this weekend,” Lawrence said. “Your grandparents in England. They haven’t seen you guys since the wedding five years ago.”
“Isabella’s coming?” Candace noticed her standing with Phineas and Ferb.
“Yes,” Linda said. “And we called you down to see if you wanted to bring someone.”
“Awesome! Can I bring Stacy?” Candace asked, pulling out her phone excitedly.
“Of course. That’s who we had in mind, anyway.”
Candace texted her about the visit to England, and she responded, ‘Coolio! I’ll pack my stuff and I’ll be over there around 3:30’.
“Okay, she can come,” Candace announced. “She’ll be over here at 3:30.”
“Good. Our flights at 4:30, so that gives us a lot of time,” Lawrence said. “Why don’t you go pack your stuff? You too, boys.”
Candace went upstairs and started packing her suitcase. She put in the clothes she would need, and packed her little purse full of make-up. Then she put in Mr. Miggins. She was about to grab Ducky Momo, but she paused. She didn’t want anyone to see her with a little baby toy. Sighing, she left him sitting on her shelf with all her old stuffed toys, and zipped up her suitcase. When she heard knocking at the door, she went downstairs.
“Right on time!” Candace exclaimed, opening the door to let Stacy in.
“Something I’m good at,” Stacy said proudly. “So where should I put my stuff?”
“We’ll be leaving in a few minutes, so why don’t you girls put your stuff in the car?” Linda said, walking into the room.
“Okay,” Candace answered.
They went outside and over to the car. Candace opened the trunk, and they put their suitcases in.
“I’ve never been out of the country before,” Candace exclaimed. “I guess having British grandparents is a good thing.”
“Yeah,” Stacy agreed. “You’ll have to come to Tokyo with me sometime. It’s a fun place!”
“Yeah, I should,” Candace said, shutting the trunk. “Come on, let’s get the seats in the middle of the car before the kids get them first!”
“Hey, Candace, wake up,” came Stacy’s voice.
Candace blinked her eyes open. They were on the plane, and it was about 11:00 at night.
“Hm?” Candace murmured.
“We’ll be landing soon,” Stacy said. “We’ll probably be down in, like, five minutes.”
“Oh, okay.” Candace rubbed her eyes tiredly. “How long was I sleeping?”
“We were both asleep for about an hour around 10:00, then I woke up at 10:30 and you were sleeping until now, and it’s
Candace was on the window side of the seat, so she looked out the window. She could see an airport up ahead. She felt the plane starting to lower towards the ground slowly. Eventually, it landed on the runway and into its spot.
“Thank you for joining us on this plane, and enjoy your stay here in London,” she heard the pilot say. “Please exit in a single file line.”
“Everyone stay together,” Linda told them sternly. “Whoever gets out before everyone else, wait at the door.”
Candace and Stacy got off first and waited for the rest. Her ears felt weird and clogged from being on the plane for ten hours. Phineas, Ferb, and Isabella got off after them, then Lynda came out, and Lawrence was last.
“Whoa, my ears feel weird!” Phineas exclaimed.
“Mine too!” Isabella agreed.
“It’s just something that happens when you get off a plane,” Linda explained. “It’s probably happening to everyone who was on the plane.”
They all got their luggage from the ‘spiny thing that carries your suitcases’ as Phineas was calling it, and they looked around for their grandparents. They were going to be waiting for them at the airport, and then they would all drive back to their house. Then Candace noticed her father waving, so she looked his way and saw her grandparents heading over to them.
“Hello, everyone!” her Grandpa exclaimed.
They all said hello, and shared hugs.
“My, Phineas, what happened to the little toddler I saw at the wedding?” her Grandma gasped. “And you, too, Ferb! Look how big you too have gotten.”
She turned to Candace. “You, my dear, haven’t changed a bit. Still as beautiful as ever!”
“Thanks, Grandma.” Candace smiled shyly.
“And who might this be?” she looked at Stacy.
“I’m Stacy,” she introduced herself. “Nice to meet you! Candace invited me to come.”
“Well, aren’t you a fine, young lady yourself,” Grandma exclaimed. “What grade are you two in?”
“Fifth,” Candace answered.
“They grow up so fast,” Linda sighed, walking up beside Grandma.
“I know,” Grandma agreed. “It seems like it was only yesterday they were all tiny toddlers.”
Candace shot Stacy a glance of embarrassment. Stacy grinned at her.
“Well, we should be getting home now,” Grandpa announced. “I’m sure you’re all exhausted from the plane ride. I’m exhausted myself from waiting!”
By the time they got back to the house, it was midnight. The three kids, Phineas, Ferb, and Isabella, had fallen asleep in the back. Candace was almost ready to doze off when the car pulled into the driveway.
“So how are the bedrooms set up?” Lawrence asked.
“We have two beds in the second biggest room. One big bed for Candace and Stacy, and one big bed for the kids,” Grandpa explained. “The smallest one you and Linda will have, and of course, we have our room.”
They went inside. Candace looked around, amazed at how different this house was from her’s. There was a fireplace, and lots of the house was made out of wood.
Grandma gestured towards the hall. “Come on, girls, I’ll show you your room.”
Candace and Stacy followed Grandma down the hall and into a big room. There were two big beds against the wall, two desks, and a big closet. Phineas, Ferb, and Isabella came in behind them.
“Wow!” Phineas exclaimed. “Is this our room?”
“Yes, it is!” Grandma said. “Why don’t you all get in your pajamas and get on into bed? You can unpack tomorrow.”
Candace came out of the bathroom from brushing her teeth and flopped down onto her bed with an exhausted sigh. She could barely keep her stinging eyes open. The clock said 12:30 AM. Stacy came into the room and sat down on the bed.
“I don’t know about you, but I’m going to sleep,” Stacy laughed.
“Me too.” Candace pulled her feet up onto the bed and eased her way under the covers of the bed.
“Where are the kids?” Stacy asked.
“Out in the living room with everyone else. They should be coming in, soon,” Candace answered. “I don’t think they’ll be allowed to stay up much longer.”
“That’s right, they won’t,” Linda said, walking into the room with Phineas, Ferb, and Isabella following her.
“Do we have to go to bed?” Phineas complained.
“You must be tired from the plane ride!” Linda exclaimed.
“We’re not,” Isabella pointed out.
“Come on, all three of you, into bed,” Linda told them. “Look, Candace and Stacy are already in bed.”
“That’s because they’re lame,” Phineas muttered.
“I heard that,” Candace called to him from over in her bed.
Finally, Lynda managed to get them into bed. Candace barely heard her mother say ‘goodnight’ after she turned out the light, because she was asleep as soon as it went out.
Candace woke up at . Everyone was still sleeping, and it was still dark outside. However, the thing with Candace was once she woke up, she couldn’t go back to sleep. Careful not to make Stacy, who was sleeping soundly next to her, Candace silently slipped out of bed. Another thing with Candace was when she woke up, she couldn’t go even a minute without brushing her teeth. She searched her suitcase for her toothbrush, and when she found it, she went into the bathroom that was in their bedroom. Now where do they keep their toothpaste? Candace thought. She looked in the cabinet above her and found it. She squirted some on her toothbrush and began brushing her teeth. Candace screwed up her face in disgust. This toothpaste was disgusting! She looked at the tube and it said it was that baking soda toothpaste. It figures, Candace thought grumpily. She finished brushing her teeth, and then rinsed out her mouth with a Dixie Cup full of water. Feeling better now, Candace snuck out to the living room. She stopped when she saw her Grandma on the sofa watching the 6:00 news.
“Grandma? What are you doing up?” Candace asked, walking into the living room to stand beside the sofa.
“I could say the same thing to you,” Grandma teased. “You were up at 12:30 last night, how could you wake up at this hour?”
“Once I wake up, I can’t go back to sleep.” Candace shrugged.
“Ah, I’ve always been the same way,” her Grandma laughed. “Want to go on a walk?”
“In our pajamas?” Candace questioned.
“Yeah,” Grandma said. “Who else is going to be up at this hour looking out their window?” she added as Candace looked out the window to see where they would walk.
Grandma led Candace outside and they began to walk down the street. “So how’s fifth grade?” she asked.
“Good,” Candace answered. “We took a geography test yesterday.”
“How did you do?”
“Don’t know yet,” Candace replied. “We didn’t get out scores back yet. But I think I did pretty good. A boy, Jeremy, was helping me study.”
“Jeremy, hm?” Grandma murmured. “You like the boy, then?”
“N-no,” Candace stammered, not knowing if she should tell her Grandma about her feelings toward Jeremy. “Why do you ask?”
“Because that’s not who the little Candace Flynn I used to know would ask to help her study,” Grandma pointed out.
“Well…” Candace sighed. “I’ve actually liked him since kindergarten. I’ve just been trying to get close with him first.”
“Ah, I see.” Grandma nodded.
“You won’t… tell… anyone, will you?”
“Of course not, dear,” Grandma said. “Only if you want me to!”
“Good luck getting me to tell you that,” Candace huffed in amusement.
Her Grandma laughed, and they continued on their walk. They walked around the rest of the block, talking about different things, and then they headed back.
“What time is it?” Candace asked.
“Probably 7:00 by now,” Grandma answered. “Someone should be up.”
Grandma was right. When they got back, her parents were looking around the living room franticly.
Linda turned around. “There you are!” she exclaimed. “We woke up and you were gone!”
“Sorry, Linda, we hadn’t intended to be out that long,” Grandma apologized. “This one woke up at six, so we had a walk.”
“I’m not surprised,” Lawrence said in amusement.
Phineas and Stacy walked into the room. “What’s all the commotion about?” Phineas grumbled.
“Nothing, it’s fine,” Linda said, sitting down at the table.
Candace went out of the room and into the living room to sit down on the sofa. She remembered her conversation with her Grandma about Jeremy. She could almost see his blonde hair and blue eyes. She leaned back on the sofa and the thought of Jeremy almost lulled her to sleep in love. Candace would do anything for Jeremy to feel the same way about her.
“Candace?” Candace was jolted from her thoughts from Stacy’s voice and her fingers snapping in front of her.
“What? Huh?” Candace studdered.
“Your Mom wants to know if you want your pancake shaped like anything,” Stacy said. “I’m getting mine shaped like a shoe!”
“You know, shopping,” Stacy answered. “So do you want yours shaped like anything?”
Candace huffed and leaned back again. “I don’t care,” she mumbled.
Stacy sat down next to her. “Okay, what’s wrong?”
“Oh please, Candace. If you think I’m gonna fall for the old ‘nothing’ trick, you must have a jam in your brain.” Stacy rolled her eyes.
Candace returned her a hostile glare, but responded, “I was just in Jeremy Land again, okay?”
“If you like him so much, why don’t you ask to hang out with you sometime?” Stacy asked.
“Do you know how many times I’ve tried?” Candace whispered desperately. “If I try, I’ll end up stuttering or saying something stupid.”
“Well what about when he was helping you study?” Stacy asked. “You said that had gone pretty smooth.”
“Yeah, but that’s different,” Candace answered. “If I ask him if he wants to hang out with me sometime, he’ll suspect something’s up.”
They were both silent for a moment, but then, “How about if you do something that’ll impress Jeremy?”
“What do you mean?”
“Remember back in kindergarten when he said he liked soccer?” Stacy asked. “Well, next year in middle school is when you can start playing sports at school.”
“And I’ll sign up for soccer and I can have practice with Jeremy!” Candace gasped excitedly. “Stacy, you’re a genius!”
Stacy blinked. “A genius? Well…!” she laughed.
“I still have to wait for the rest of this year, though, and this coming summer,” Candace muttered.
“This school year’s almost over,” Stacy pointed out. “In about a week we’ll be out. And over the summer you can practice.”
“Good idea!” Candace exclaimed. “Oh, and, I think I’ll have my pancake shaped like a ‘J’!”
The summer flew by like a plane on a runway. Phineas and Ferb had shown some slight interest in building. They were always building something out of blocks down in the living room, but they weren’t some little kid tower. They were huge! One almost took up the whole living room! Candace had wanted her mom to see them all, but by the time she got back to show her, it had all fell down and they had put all the blocks away. Despite the fact of feeling stupid, Candace had been practicing soccer with Stacy and Jenny. Candace was surprised at how good she was at it! She went up against Stacy and Jenny, and her by herself, and she hadn’t let them get one goal. She was also good at kicking the ball, but the only problem she had was getting it into the net. She would either kick it too hard or too gently for it to make it in the net. She had only gotten it in the net once when she fell and pushed it into the net with her hands, but she hadn’t even been intending to do that.
Today was the first day of sixth grade. It was 7:00, and Candace had to leave the house at 7:15, unlike elementary when she had to leave at 8:15. Candace was pacing nervously around the living room, while Phineas and Ferb watched her.
“There’s nothing to be scared of, Candace,” Phineas said. “Isn’t it just like elementary school?”
“Just like elementary school? Are you kidding?” Candace snapped. “This school is huge, and you have to learn how to open lockers, and I’ll get lost, and have lots of extra homework-“
“Candace, calm down!” she heard Lawrence say as he walked into the living room.
“How can I calm down?” Candace turned away from him. “Have you been inside that school? We’re not talking about just one long hallway like elementary school, we’re talking hallways scattered around the building, and classrooms all in different places!”
“Candace, I’m telling you that after a couple weeks, you’ll be finding your way around that school without a problem,” Lawrence reassured her. “And as for lockers, there are lots of teachers around to ask for help. And in that couple weeks, you’ll be saying, ‘I can’t believe I actually got lost at this school’.”
“Okay, fine,” Candace sighed. “There’s nothing wrong with being nervous, though.”
“Everyone’s nervous on their first day,” Lawrence said. “Every sixth grader’s going to be nervous.”
Candace didn’t reply this time. She just nodded, and then looked at the clock. It said 7:15 AM.
“I have to go,” Candace announced.
“Good luck, honey,” Lawrence said.
Candace smiled and got her backpack on.
“Bye, Candace, good luck!” she heard her mother call.
“Bye!” Phineas called. Ferb waved.
The bus pulled up, and Candace went out of her house and climbed onto the bus. She spotted Stacy in their usual seat. Stacy waved and motioned for her to come over. Candace walked over and sat down beside her, and the bus drove away.
“Hey, Candace,” Stacy greeted her.
“Hi, Stacy,” Candace replied, trying to sound cheerful.
“Hey, I think I’m gonna sign up for soccer, too,” Stacy said.
“Great! We can play together!” Candace exclaimed.
“That’s basically why I’m doing it,” Stacy laughed. “And my Mom wants me to play a sport, so I chose soccer.”
Candace rolled her eyes in amusement and leaned back on the bus seat. Everything will be fine, she reassured herself.
“Oh, hey, let me see your schedule,” Stacy exclaimed, pulling out her’s.
“Oh, right.” Candace pulled it out of her backpack and handed it to Stacy.
She watched as Stacy looked back and forth from her own schedule and to Candace’s. “Looks like we have Language Arts together, Social Studies, Math, and we’re in the same homeroom, Mrs. Peal.”
“Awesome!” Candace exclaimed as Stacy handed her back her schedule.
The school day had gone better than Candace had expected. When they got there, they went to the auditorium for an introduction to the school. Then their new homeroom teacher led them to their room. After that, they had all practiced on their lockers. Making Candace pleased, she had opened her’s on her first try. Then she put her backpack into it, and had practiced for the remainder of the time. Stacy’s locker was right next to her’s, since Candace’s last name started with an ‘F’, and Stacy’s started with an ‘H’, and no one in their homeroom’s last name started with a ‘G’. After that, Candace had Reading class first block. Jenny was in her class, along with Jeremy, but no Stacy. Second block was Language Arts class, which had Stacy and Jeremy. Then she had Gym, where they practiced on their Gym lockers and got papers for uniforms. Her Gym teacher also had a table with fliers for soccer signups, hockey signups, and a few more. Candace and Stacy both got one for soccer, and Candace grinned happily as she saw Jeremy get one for soccer. After Gym they had lunch, and then Math, Science, and Social Studies last block. They pretty much just got a bunch of papers throughout the whole day. They had homeroom at the end of the day. Candace opened her locker, but with two tries this time, and got her backpack out of it. Meanwhile, next to her, Stacy was struggling to get her locker open. She groaned impatiently and started putting in her combination again.
“Need help?” Candace asked, laughing a bit.
“Yes,” Stacy sighed, giving up. She moved over so Candace could kneel down in front of it.
“What’s your combination?” Candace asked.
Candace put in the numbers, and then opened up her locker.
“There you go,” Candace said.
“Jeez, you’re a master at these things!” Stacy gasped, getting her backpack out of her locker.
“You have to remember to go past the first number to get to the second number,” Candace said. “Remember that’s what Mrs. Peal said kids often forget to do the most?”
“Yeah, I know,” Stacy answered, shutting her locker door. “I must be one of those kids.”
“Come on,” Candace laughed, walking into her homeroom.
Today was the first day of soccer practice. It was , and it was way past the end of the school day. Candace had bought her uniform. Everyone had one with their last name printed on the back. Candace and Stacy were waiting in a horizontal line for the teacher to pair them up in practice groups. The coach was up at the other end of the line assigning teams. She noticed Jeremy run over to the closer net, and her heart pumped nervously as the coach came nearer and nearer to her and Stacy.
“Candace, I have you assigned to the net right here,” the coach pointed to the close net where Jeremy was. Candace was still nervous for Stacy, though. “And Stacy, you’re over at the far net.”
The coach walked away and started to the next one.
“I don’t want to be on a team by myself!” Stacy exclaimed.
“You’re gonna have to,” Candace sighed. “Sorry, Stace.”
“That’s easy for you to say,” Stacy growled. “At least you have Jeremy.”
Then she whipped around and stalked off to the far net. It wasn’t my fault we were assigned on different teams! They’re only practice teams, too! Candace thought irritably. Rolling her eyes, Candace raced over to the close net and stood next to Jeremy.
“Oh, hey, Candace,” Jeremy greeted her. “I didn’t know you played soccer.”
“Yeah, well, I-I do a little bit, heh-heh,” Candace stammered nervously.
“Cool! Well good luck,” Jeremy said.
Candace wanted to slap herself. Why did she have to get so shy around him? He was only another person. Candace looked on the other side of the field and saw the other team putting yellow pinnies on.
“Both teams come to the center!” the coach yelled and blew his whistle.
Candace dashed over to the center of the field. Stacy didn’t even glance at her. Not looking at Stacy, Candace looked up at the coach.
“Alright, I’ve divided you all into your practice teams,” the coach explained. “This is who you will play with most of the time until the real game against another school. So we have the white team-“ he pointed to Candace’s team. –“And the yellow team.”-he pointed to Stacy’s team. “So how many of you would say you’re a pretty decent soccer player?”
Candace raised her hand, but not very high. If they were doing a demonstration, she didn’t want to be a part of it. Beside her, Jeremy raised his hand.
“And how many of you are just starting soccer this year?” the coach asked.
Candace saw Stacy raise her hand.
“Then I’ll explain how it works…” said the coach.
As he started explaining how to play soccer, Candace zoned out because she already knew how. She glanced at Jeremy, whose blonde hair was shining from the sun up in the sky. Candace smiled warmly and then turned her eyes back on the coach.
“And that’s basically how it works,” the coach finished. “Alright, you teams can figure out how your team’s going to work.”
Candace ran after her team to their net and they began discussing.
“I want to be goalie,” a girl, Amber, said. “I’m really good at blocking stuff.”
A few other girls agreed on being defense, but Candace wanted to try getting the ball into the other net.
“Candace, are you playing with us?” a boy, Max, asked with a group of boys, including Jeremy.
“Yeah, will you have me?” Candace asked.
“Sure,” Jeremy agreed.
The people actually playing were about five boys, and Candace. She didn’t want to be a pretty little girly-girl being goalie or defense, she wanted to play! She noticed Stacy was on defense.
“Teams, are you ready?” the coach yelled.
“Yeah!” came their reply.
The coach blew his whistle. “Start!” and he threw the ball into the center of the field.
At once, Candace darted away and ran up to the ball. She kicked it to Max, who kicked it to Jeremy. However, someone stole the ball from Jeremy and started kicking it over to their net.
“Go, Yellow Team, go!” the coach yelled from the bleachers.
Candace knew it was only a game, but she took sports very seriously. Anger rushing through her, she raced over to her net and stole the ball away from the boy who had stolen it from Jeremy.
“There you go, White Team!” the coach yelled again.
Candace kicked and ran at the same time over across the field, dodging the Yellow Team members who were shooting at her from all different directions. Then she gave it one final kick, and it went into the other team’s net.
“One point for the White Team!” the coach cheered.
“Wow, great shot, Candace!” Jeremy exclaimed from beside her. “You’ve got to teach me how to play like that!”
“Thanks!” Candace answered. “Yeah, sure, anytime!”
After another hour, practice was over. Candace’s team had won! It was scored ten to seven. Candace had scored four goals. She sensed her plan of impressing Jeremy was working, because she noticed him talking about her to some of his friends.
“I mean, did you see her?” Jeremy was saying. “Four goals in a row!”
“That girl’s got some serious talent going on,” one of his friends agreed. “We’ll so win with her on our team.”
Candace felt a rush of warmth flood through her. She turned around when she felt someone tap her on the shoulder.
“Happy that you’ve impressed Jeremy now?” it was Stacy. “Unless you’re too obsessed over Jeremy that you don’t care about me.”
“I am not obsessed,” Candace defended herself.
Stacy sighed. “Look, I’m sorry. But the only reason I signed up for soccer is so I could hang out with you. I didn’t score one goal today.”
“It’s okay,” Candace replied. “How about we go talk to the coach before we leave today?”
Candace looked around for the coach, and then saw him grading papers as he sat on the bleachers.
“Um, Coach?” Candace spoke up as they walked up to him.
“Yeah, girls?” he looked up.
Candace looked at Stacy and nudged her. If Stacy was the one wanting to switch teams, she should be the one doing the talking.
“I wanted to know if I could switch teams,” Stacy said.
“Why?” Stacy repeated nervously. “Well, I’m not a very good soccer player, and… I thought since Candace here is really good, I might learn more by watching her.”
“Can’t you watch her from the other team?”
“Well, yeah, but this way I can watch her without worrying about competing against her.”
The coach thought for a moment. Then after the silence, he said, “If I switch you to the other team, that means I’ll have to take out someone who’s on that team and put them on the other team.”
“Isn’t there anyone who you think would prefer being on the other team?” Candace asked.
“Hm… maybe Danielle,” Coach said. “She seemed kind of mopey after I said she was going to be on the white team. Alright, Stacy, I’ll assign you to Candace’s team, and I’ll put Danielle on the yellow team.”
“Thank you, coach!” Stacy exclaimed happily.
“No problem,” he said, pulling out his paper of the names and teams.
“See? That wasn’t so hard, now was it?” Candace asked Stacy as they walked away.
“Who said it was gonna be hard?” Stacy questioned. “Oh well, never mind that. At least I get to be on your team now!”
“Yeah, I know!”
Stacy noticed her mom calling to her.
“Well, I have to go,” Stacy said. “I’ll see you later!”
“Okay, bye,” Candace waved.
“Bye, Candace,” she heard Jeremy say.
“Bye, Jeremy,” Candace grinned.
Candace turned back and waited for her Dad to come. Linda was recording a song with her band today, so she couldn’t make it to pick her up. Candace just hoped it was soon, though, because she couldn’t help but notice that gray clouds were starting to form, and she heard slight thunder. Soon Candace was the only one left at the soccer field, and Candace was left there to sit on the curb and wait. Suddenly she saw a flash of lightning light up the sky, and a crash of thunder followed it. And followed by the thunder, rain came tumbling down. Candace sighed and rested her head on her knees as she waited, the rain soaking her clothes and her hair.
How could he have let me down?
Back home, Lawrence was watching the news on TV. Phineas and Ferb were nearby stacking some blocks that almost reached the ceiling.
“Be careful that doesn’t fall on something important, boys,” Lawrence told them.
“Okay, Dad,” Phineas said, stacking another block.
“I wonder if Candace’s soccer game is still going on in this weather,” Lawrence said. “After all, her practice doesn’t end until four…” he trailed off as he noticed the clock. It said 6:30.
“Oh, my!” Lawrence jumped to his feet. “I hadn’t even realized what time it was!”
“Yeah, weren’t you supposed to pick up Candace at 4:30?” Phineas asked, taking a picture of the tower.
“I know, I forgot!” Lawrence gasped, slipping on a jacket. “Come on, boys, hurry up, now!”
He helped them put on their raincoats and they raced out to the car. A rush of guilt flooded all through Lawrence. What was Candace going to think of him, forgetting to pick her up from soccer practice and leaving her to stand in the rain in a thunderstorm all by herself? He drove to the school, and went around back where the soccer field was, and there she was. A soggy figure of Candace was sitting on the curb and staring desperately at the sky, probably hoping it would stop raining. She was hugging onto herself as she shivered. Lawrence got out of the car and raced over to her.
“Dad!” Candace stood up. He couldn’t miss the anger and disappointment in her eyes. “What took you so long? It’s been two hours!”
“I’m so sorry, honey, I forgot, but it’ll never happen again,” Lawrence tried.
“Forgot?” Candace choked in disbelief. “How could you?”
Lawrence opened his mouth to reply, but nothing came out, only another loud boom of thunder.
He handed her a towel. “Here, use it to keep warm,” he murmured. “I think you’ve caught a cold.”
Candace took it from him, but instead of thanking him, she rolled her eyes and stalked off to the car.
She got into the car in the passenger seat with the towel wrapped around her. Lawrence got in the car after her, and then started driving back home.
“Couldn’t you have walked home?” Phineas asked.
Candace didn’t answer. She was too furious at Lawrence to talk. The way Lawrence had just shown signs that he didn’t care about her reminded her of her actual father, Steve. Her heart had been broken too many times, and she never intended it would happen with Lawrence. It felt as if all the fathers on the face of the Earth hated her, and didn’t care about her. When they got home, Candace saw that her mother had gotten home. Good, Candace thought. At least one that actually likes me. Throwing the towel over her wet hair as well as her top half, Candace got out of the car and went into the door, not caring if Lawrence and the boys were following her. Linda was sitting on the sofa watching the news on the TV. When she noticed Candace, she gasped and ran over to her.
“Candace, honey, what happened?” she gasped.
Lawrence and the boys walked in from behind her. Linda stared at her husband as Candace stormed away from the door.
“You forgot to pick her up, didn’t you,” Linda sighed.
“I-I didn’t mean to, I forgot!” Lawrence stammered.
Phineas noticed the TV was on the news channel. “Hey, Daddy, I think you forgot to turn off the TV before we left,” he said.
“Phineas…” Lawrence broke in.
“Oh, I see,” Candace snapped. “You were too distracted by watching television to notice the time. You’re no better than my real Dad!” she added, her voice growing into harsh yelling.
“Candace, please, just let me-“ Lawrence began, but Candace was already running up the stairs.
“I’ll go talk to her,” Candace heard Linda murmur.
Candace threw the towel on her bedroom floor and she sat on her bed, tears beginning to streak down her face. She looked out her window and watched tracks of rain trickle down on the outside. She picked up the towel started drying her hair with it.
“Candace?” it was Linda’s voice.
“Just go away, Mom, I don’t want to talk about it,” Candace told her in a shaky voice.
But her mother obviously didn’t listen. She came into her room and sat down on the bed beside her.
“You know your father didn’t mean to forget,” Linda murmured.
“I know that, but how could he forget?” Candace whispered. She wasn’t able to speak in her normal voice because her throat was all choked up now.
“You know, it’s a really bad thing to compare Lawrence to your real father,” Linda told her.
“But when he forgot, it made me think of how Dad didn’t care about us. He just totally forgot about us.”
“This is different, Candace, you have to realize that,” Linda said. “You really hurt him when you said that about him.”
“Well he really hurt me when he forgot about me from watching TV,” Candace muttered. “We’re even.”
“Candace,” Linda sighed. “That’s not the way you handle things. Are you just going to live mad at him forever? Because I’m not divorcing with him just because you are.”
Candace didn’t answer. She started to think about this. She knew it was an honest mistake, but it just felt as if Lawrence didn’t care about her anymore. Even if he did get her on time, why didn’t he come out to get her as soon as the rain started? I can’t expect him to be perfect, I guess, Candace thought.
“Candace, no one can blame you for being mad at him for forgetting to pick you up when it started to rain, and no one can blame you for being upset when your father left you when you were two years old. But you have to learn to forgive. Candace?” Linda repeated, waiting for an answer.
“I’m sorry,” Candace sighed.
“Great. Now go tell that to your father.”
“I don’t think he’ll like me anymore after what I said to him,” Candace murmured.
“I’m sure he’ll understand,” Linda reassured her. “Right now all he wants is for you to forgive him.”
“Okay.” She sat the towel on her bed and peeked downstairs. Lawrence was sitting on the sofa with his head leaning on his hand, his expression looking troubled and guilty. Candace was actually feeling the same way.
“Dad?” Candace spoke up.
“Hi, honey,” Lawrence murmured.
“Look, I know saying sorry isn’t enough, but I really am sorry about what I said,” Candace stared at her feet. “I couldn’t imagine having a better dad than you, and it’d make me really happy if you would forgive me.”
“I believe I owe you an apology, too,” Lawrence said. “I didn’t mean to forget. I would never want to do anything to hurt you. I’m sorry. Do you… do you forgive me?”
Candace walked over to the sofa and hugged him. “Did that answer your question?” she asked.
Lawrence hugged her back. “That answer your’s?”
They both laughed, but Candace broke off into painful coughing. She held her throat and coughed rapidly.
“Candace, honey, are you alright?” Lawrence gasped.
Candace nodded as the coughing died down. “Yeah, I think so,” she breathed. “I must have gotten a cold.”
“Well let’s get you some cold medicine, then, shall we?” Lawrence said, getting up from the sofa and into the bathroom to the medicine cabinet.
He gave her a pill, and she took it within a couple seconds.
“Mmhm. Thanks, Dad.”
“So you never told me,” Lawrence said as he walked back into the living room. “Who won the game today?”
“We did,” Candace grinned. “I think I’m really getting the hang of it.”
“That’s good to hear.” Lawrence nodded.
Candace smiled. “I am really happy to have you as a dad. You know that, right?”
“And I’m really happy to have you as a daughter,” Lawrence told her. “I think we both know it.”